Captain Philippa Georgiou might be gone, but she will not be forgotten.
In the premiere of “Star Trek: Discovery,” the character played by Michelle Yeoh met her untimely end during a battle with the Klingons. But Yeoh tells CNN, her character “might be dead, but she’s not gone.”
“You will be constantly feeling Capt. Georgiou around all the time,” Yeoh told CNN Monday, less than one day after Trekkies new and old got their first taste of the long-awaited CBS: All Access series. “You have to be patient. Things will reveal themselves.”
As Yeoh sees it, her character’s demise was a “fundamental” part of protagonist Michael Burnham’s (Sonequa Martin-Green) story.
At the end of the premiere, not only was Burnham’s mentor, maternal figure and friend dead, but the bold first officer was locked up for her actions leading up to a big clash with the Klingons.
Yeoh couldn’t give too much away about what comes after, but teased, “the next few episodes are going to be tough.”
“You can’t keep a good solider down,” she said of Burnham. “She’s very, very useful because she is smart, knows things, she’s able, and now unfortunately the Federation is facing more. So you cannot keep someone like that off the front lines.”
Exactly how Yeoh works into that equation from beyond the grave is in question. But as the premiere showed, flashbacks may be a factor — though, Yeoh says they don’t utilize them too much.
“Flashbacks are important because the memories that we have are what make us what we are,” she said. “So it’s important for the audience to discover [Burnham’s] history and the significance behind every step [she] takes, the choices she’s made that dramatically change her life.”
Capt. Georgiou factors into that, Yeoh said, adding that many “twists and turns” are yet to come.
Yeoh said the crowd and the positive feedback has been “gratifying,” as much care was given to honoring the legacy set forth by creator Gene Roddenberry.
During its original broadcast run, “Star Trek” broke many barriers — it was the home of TV’s first interracial kiss — and Yeoh is proud the new series has continued the franchise’s dedication to progressive images.
Case in point: There’s a scene where Burnham and Georgiou infiltrate a Klingon ship, and battle their way through foes.
As a UN Goodwill Ambassador, Yeoh said she knows the power of that picture.
“It’s saying to all the little girls who are watching…’You can do this,'” she said. “So it is so important that we champion these causes, and Star Trek is one of the best vehicles.”
Yeoh would like to see more bonds like that shared between her and Martin-Green’s characters on TV. Two strong women can share a screen and not be intimidated or threatened by one another, she said.
“When I first read it, I was like, ‘Oh, that’s so beautiful and grounding and empowering, as well,'” she said.
New episodes of “Star Trek: Discovery” will be made available Sundays at 8:30 p.m. ET on CBS: All Access.